A view of the WMS office and attached warehouse, located in Albuquerque, N.M.
Wood Moulding Specialties Is Well-positioned For Growth In The Southwest
By Clare Adrian
Albuquerque, N.M.—Lumberyards in New Mexico are busy places these days. Home building in Albuquerque alone resembles a mini Las Vegas boom of the 1950s. “New Mexico is growing in leaps and bounds. We are basically the only micro-mill standing that can handle the volume that the lumberyards and contractors of the area require, says Kevin Avants, vice president of Wood Moulding Specialties (WMS). We’re blessed to be in the right place at the right time.”
Established in 1981 by Frank DeMott, with the management assistance of his wife, Helen, WMS is growing right along with the high desert building surge. DeMott’s father had owned Best Moulding Corp., which has always operated as an out-of-state provider. So the younger DeMott started the micro-mill, WMS, to service accounts within New Mexico. He is now president of Best Moulding Corp. and WMS is its subsidiary, yet the two are separate corporations.
With the company since 1996, Avants started out in sales, but in two years time
Jaycob Salazar and Hugo Rodriguez set up the six-head Weinig moulder.
was offered shares in the company. He had been previously associated with the lumber trade in San Diego, working for a millwork distributor. He currently purchases 3.6 million board feet of stain grade Pine, paint grade poplar and stain grade oak per year from parent company Best Moulding. As a large mill, strictly supplying jobbers, Best Moulding is able to purchase lumber mill-direct by rail car load and sell to Avants what he needs, for local customers, at volume pricing, garnering WMS a competitive edge over out-of-state distributors.
“We are the only micro-mill in New Mexico,” said Avants. “What competition we had, has closed shop as the industry changed.
Ensconced in the community for 25 years, without any apparent local competition, the company did not hesitate to take the necessary measures to meet the demands of the growing customer base. A new six-head Weinig Moulder was added to the production line in 2005. The combination of that machine and another five-head Weinig Moulder continues to run at 100 percent capacity, turning out stock and custom mouldings. Before being processed through one of the moulders, a Mereen Johnson straight line rip saw rips the lumber into multiple pieces in one run. An XL Resaw machine cuts the lumber in half to maximize yield.
Celeste Rogers handles inside sales for the company.
At the cut-to-lengths table, any knots are trimmed back and lumber is sorted into lengths from six to sixteen feet. A 16 foot edge gluer has the capacity to glue 150 board feet in one turn. With the ability to grind knives on site, Avants confirmed that the company can match any profile request up to 7 and 1/4 inches in width. Producing approximately 2,900 patterns of mouldings, the company carries 324 standing moulding patterns in stock and manufactures various stair parts, mantel pieces, specialty millwork and closet packages. The company also distributes embossed and dentilized mouldings, numerous styles of rosettes, matching bullnose corners, inside and outside corners, radius pieces and flexible moulding, all of which comprise a varied array of moulding accessories.
To achieve a consistent level of efficiency that maximizes production in the shop, the company has implemented a timing system. Clocks are affixed to the machines to determine the run time on each and any wasted time, literally, by the minute. A monthly report also demonstrates the calculated dollars per hour on each machine.
Avants said the company has maintained a reputation of reliability through a longtime membership in the local Home Builders Assoc. of Albuquerque, Las Cruses and Santa Fe. There is also no need, said Avants, to com
WMS carries 324 patterns of mouldings in Pine, as well as assorted hardwood species.
pete with lumberyards, cabinet or door shops for their clientele.
“We offer a price structure to fit all three markets,” said Avants. Within a two-week lead-time, clients receive their special moulding orders, by way of one of four WMS trucks. WMS is centrally located to the significant growth in northern Albuquerque.
The motto of the company is “to exceed customer expectations.” To that aim, the company strives to remain as diverse as possible for the customer base with a three-tiered price structure appropriate to the retailer, contractor and dealer markets. Avants said that in expanding services and offering credit card option payments, “business has exploded.” Customers can explore WMS product catalog options, a picture gallery and company policies which are plainly delineated on the company website, www.woodmouldingspecialties.com.
Working at WMS has its benefits, too, that contribute to low turnover. An attractive feature is the workweek for the now fourteen employees in the spacious warehouse. Their 40-hour schedule is compressed into four nine-hour days and a four-hour Friday, allowing for a two-and-a-half-day weekend.
Raymundo Garcia tails the five-head Weinig moulder.
Avants must be doing something right because some staff drive a 30 mile distance to work at WMS. It could be the favorable work hours, but it could also be the familial atmosphere, the remembrance of everyone’s birthday, mindful not only of preference for pies, cookies or cakes, but also making sure it’s in the person’s favorite flavor. Avants uses proceeds from a coke machine he owns to buy the pastries and holiday cards, and even purchased jackets for everyone last year. “It’s the people that make management, not the management that make the people,” said Avants, who circulates amongst workers on a daily basis. He keeps them in the loop with monthly meetings, covering how the company is doing financially, discussing safety issues, encouraging workers to speak their minds and offer improvement ideas.
Celeste Rogers originally arrived on board as a bookkeeper. Now handling inside sales, she admitted that back then, she wasn’t sure wood mouldings would actually be something she’d enjoy. Nine years later, she finds that “it’s nice to be able to change a customer’s house completely, even with a small budget.”
Santiago Ramero feeds the XL resaw machine.
With internal company relationships intact, and seated within a community of growth, WMS’s focus is on its markets. The company’s success is due to its diversity, continuing to recognize its customer’s needs and being able to service their needs profitably.
Outside salesman, Mario Moreno, and vice president of Wood Moulding Specialties, Kevin Avants.